Technical education learner survey 2022
T Levels were introduced in 2021 as a key plank in the government’s efforts to reform the technical education landscape. The Department for Education (DfE) commissioned NatCen and the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) to conduct a longitudinal study with the first cohorts going through these new courses, to explore their experiences during and after their courses and to compare experiences with those on other technical education courses. This report is based on a second survey with the first cohort of T Level learners – now at the end of their course in 2022. It also reports on surveys with the second cohort of over 2,300 T Level learners and over 890 Transition Programme learners who began their course in September 2021, following an expansion of courses and providers. This survey also collected data on T Level comparator groups (over 2,300 other level 3 technical learners, and over 600 A level learners) and around 1,300 level 4/5 learners. The 2021/22 survey explored comparable areas found in the 2020/21 survey such as learners’ reasons for choosing their course, their aspirations, course delivery, learners’ satisfaction, and their future plans.
- Similar to 2020/21, this years’ T Levels attracted a wide range of learners, including those who thought that they otherwise would have chosen A levels, another technical qualification, or an apprenticeship.
- There was a significant return to in-person teaching in the 2021/22 academic year, with almost all learners from both T Level cohorts and the second cohort of T Level Transition Programme taught mostly or entirely in person.
- A higher percentage of 2021/22 T Level and Transition Programme learners began an industry placement in the first year compared to the 2020/21 T Level learners, where placements were impacted by COVID-19. However, by the end of their program, almost all of the 2020/21 T Level learners completed the required industry placements.
- Across both T Level cohorts, most learners found their workload manageable, in, and out, of taught lessons. Almost two thirds of Transition Programme learners found their courses quite challenging.
- Satisfaction with the T Level programme were lower for the second cohort compared to the first. This was associated with some of the new T Level courses. Satisfaction was similar for new providers and those who had delivered T Levels in 2020/21. The 2021/22 T Level cohort was less satisfied with their programme than those in the same year group on other level 3 technical and A level courses
- The Transition Programme learners’ overall satisfaction was high, with the learners being most satisfied with the ‘teachers’ knowledge and expertise’.
- The Transition Programme learners felt that the programme had helped them develop the relevant knowledge of their occupational area and practical skills. Similar findings applied to the 2020/21 T Level cohort with additional reports that the programme helped their understanding of how workplaces operate and developed their readiness to work in their chosen occupation area.
- Almost two thirds of the first T Level cohort intended to move into further study or work in their T Level occupational specialism area. The three main next steps for this cohort were a university degree, a job, and an apprenticeship.
At the end of the Transition Programme, just over a quarter of learners intended to progress onto a T Level. Other common intentions for progression were to another type of study or qualification, or to an apprenticeship.